4 Common Barriers to Learning That Companies Face While Training Their Employees

Training programs are designed to make a difference. They are often well-planned, researched, and have all the necessary bells and whistles to provide adequate resources for your employees to grow. All this doesn’t come cheap either. 

Companies worldwide spent around $356 billion in 2015 alone on employee training and development. With such statistics, it’s curious as to why corporate training is failing. 

One might think it’s because the employees don’t want to learn. However, stats suggest otherwise. For instance, about three-quarters of employees recognize that they haven’t mastered their job and want to learn more. Training is not just for the employees either. Training and learning are essential for hiring, employee retention, and growth of the organization. To ensure that your training program works, you need to address the barriers to learning.

Barriers to Learning and How to Overcome Them

1. Lack of Modern Training Methods

why companies invest in employee experience infographic
Source: LinkedIn

Millennials and Gen Z are the future of the workforce worldwide, and they seem to be the ones calling all the shots. For example, around 80% of millennials believe in ‘Bring Your Own Device’ or BYOD. Before you dismiss it as a fad, it is said to increase productivity by 34%.

Likewise, Millennials and Gen Z are primary social media users and have changed how they approach things. For instance, the average attention span of a human right now is around 9 seconds, which is just one second lesser than a goldfish.

With such changes in behaviors, traditional teaching methods just don’t work. Conventional teaching methods like a classroom setting or ‘text-heavy’ notes and pointers act as a barrier while learning.

How Can You Overcome this Barrier?

To counter this, you need to focus on ‘employee experience.’ A good employee training program has been shown to reduce the attrition rate by 53%. The key to improving the employee experience is to modernize your training program.

According to this IBM White Paper, learning technologies or Learning Management Systems (LMS) increase employee engagement by 19%. Using videos, graphics, and gamification helps retain information better and ensure that your employees get more value from the training courses.

2. Personal Barriers

While change is constant, it’s also often uncomfortable. Unlearning and learning something new is often a challenge for many. It’s particularly true for more senior employees who are used to a certain way of doing things.

However, they must first begin learning new things and adapting to new processes as it needs to trickle down to junior employees. 

Likewise, When we talk about the workforce, we tend to get caught up in stats and numbers while forgetting that all corporate policies affect real people, and everyone has a different way of processing things. This is why emotional barriers are also called ‘hidden barriers.’

While you can quantify other barriers, you can’t calculate the percentage of anxiety someone feels when they have to unlearn and learn something.

How Can You Overcome this Barrier?

When it comes to dealing with personal barriers, it’s always ideal to tread carefully. One way to do so is to manage expectations. You might pass off a course as ‘easy,’ but many employees might struggle with it and then feel demotivated or suffer from loss of self-esteem. 

Everyone has a different learning pace and approach. It’s essential to have some breathing room for learning deadlines and milestones to keep your employees motivated and in a healthy state of mind during the learning process.

Likewise, you must understand your employees’ needs and personal goals while creating a learning program to overcome barriers to learning. You can start by creating employee goal-specific learning programs that tackle what your employees need and benefit your company at the same time.

3. Work-Learning Dilemma

Adding on to what we discussed in the previous point, employees are often torn between ‘working’ and ‘learning.’ The reason behind this is the lack of a ‘work learning culture’ in the workplace. If you had to choose between a work deadline vs. a course deadline, which one would you prioritize?

Like most, work will always trump learning and often act as a barrier. 

How Can You Overcome this Barrier?

We’ve established that it’s important to develop a workplace learning culture. But how? First, most employees enroll in training courses because of company policies or because ‘their manager said so.’ Start by removing this culture. 

Instead, show your employees how a particular course is beneficial to their growth. While your focus is on the company’s growth, the employee’s focus is on personal development.

It’s important to address this gap and a) do what’s beneficial for your employees and b) show your employees why it’s beneficial for them. Individual success leads to team success, and positive reinforcement goes a long way.

4. Lack of Customisation

One of the main reasons learning programs do not do well is that they are drafted to be mass-marketed. Suppose you are a content marketing company and you want to improve the SEO skills of your employees. In that case, you’d want a program that covers the theory and touches base with various practical applications. 

Unfortunately, many programs are crafted with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that will not benefit your organization.

How Can You Overcome this Barrier?

People are more responsive to concepts that appeal to them. If your employees want to learn about improving their communication skills, they will focus and engage more on that subject.

As an employer, you can tackle this barrier easily. You can start by creating department-wise lists for your employees. For instance, you can create separate lists for your accounting department, marketing department, and so on. A customized approach will help remove various learning barriers and make it a seamless and enjoyable experience for your employees.

In Conclusion 

You must remember that your employees are the driving force behind your organization and whatever learning programs that you introduce are meant for them first. A customized learning experience proves fruitful in the long run, and creating short-term goals will only divert your employees from success and personal growth.

Recognizing the barriers listed above and making proactive steps to overcome them will help your training programs succeed. 

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